Abstract The purpose of this study was to describe the effectiveness of a community-based health-promotion program that was collaboratively designed and that is currently being implemented by lay persons who have the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and by health professionals. Two groups of SLE self-help course participants contributed data for this theory-guided preexperimental program impact study. Braden's self-help model provided the theoretical framework. The variables addressed were severity of illness, limitations, uncertainty, enabling skill self-efficacy, self-worth, and life quality. The groups consisted of 35 subjects having low depression scores (≥ 77) and 37 with high depression scores (≤272) on a measure having a possible range of scores from 0 to 400. Data were collected at three points: at the beginning of class 1, after class 7 (7 wks later), and two months after completion of the course. A group (2) by time (3) by measures (10) MANOVA analysis procedure was used with a follow up univariate F test and Newman-Keuls multiple comparison procedure. Significant change was evident for the level of depression group and for three interaction effects of group × time, group × measure, and group × time × measure.